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Closing Digital Spaces Threatens Democracy in Africa - Study

Researchers in ten African countries have documented 115 examples of technologies, tactics and techniques used between 2000 and 2020 to close down the digital spaces where people organise, voice different political opinions, and participate in governance. In contrast, over the same 20-year period, there were only 65 examples of steps taken to open civic space, the report by the African Digital Rights Network says. The report covers South Africa, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Zambia, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt. Dr Tony Roberts, Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and co-author of the report, says: "Increasingly, when a new technology or campaign emerges, governments find a way to shut down this civic space. This 'digital authoritarianism' has fundamental implications for democratic societies and is why it's so important that we raise awareness and build capacity across Africa to promote and protect citizens' digital rights."

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